Tipping the Beaufort Scale: 99-word Flash Fiction

This week’s prompt over at http://www.carrotranch.com was to use storm windows in 99 words (no more, no less), and go where the prompt led. Here’s mine:

Tipping the Beaufort Scale

Serafina loved wind, from warm southern breezes to biting northern squalls; she loved rain especially thunderstorms; she loved snow, blizzards as well as all the feathery, drifting flakes; but hurricanes, tornadoes, typhoons, and cyclones may have been her favorite meteorological events.

Serafina controlled them all from her tower room, which had four windows, one to the east, one to the west, one to the north, and one to the south. With the touch of her hand on the panes of the storm windows, she sent out tempests to wreck havoc on the land and the humans, who wanted sunshine.

Nancy Brady, 2019

By way of explanation, the Beaufort Scale categorizes the strength of winds. The higher the number, the stronger and fiercer the wind. The scale goes from 0 (Calm) to 12 (Hurricane).

To participate or see all the 99-word flash fictions, check out http://www.carrotranch.com.


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Erie Kai Water Walker: 99-Word Flash Fiction

This pedometer geek has been shirking the Carrot Ranch prompts recently for various reasons, but this week’s prompt called to me. It was to be a story about Water Walkers in 99 words (no more, no less). Check out the story behind Charli Mills’ experience with the Water Walkers at the blog: http://www.carrotranch.com as well as all of the various stories from the community of writers. Here’s my take on the prompt:

Erie Kai Water Walker

This Water Walker was a member of the tribe, who left during the war that was being waged by the British, Canadians, and Americans. While they left, she stayed to protect her home and family. Her bones were discovered later near the shoreline of the lake. She was called Old Woman (Minehonto), and the stream bears her name still.

Even now, Old Woman Creek forms a natural estuary with the lake her tribe called the Wildcat, Lake Erie. Just as she protected her territory long ago, the locals of the Estuary Research Center protect the creek and the lake.

~Nancy Brady, 2019

For those who know the area’s history, I fully admit that I have taken some liberties with the history of the naming of Old Woman Creek. On the other hand, those who live near the Old Woman Creek National Estuary Research Center are proud of the work the biologists do to protect the estuary and Lake Erie. This is one of two national estuary research centers on the Great Lakes, that is, they are freshwater estuaries; most of the other research centers are located on the coasts of the United States and are saltwater estuaries.

To read other writers who have written stories about Water Walkers or to write one of your own 99-word flash fiction, check out http://www.carrotranch.com.

Posted in #GreatAmericanRead, #pedometergeek, 99-word flash fiction, Carrot Ranch, flash fiction, Lake Erie, Old Woman Creek National Estuary Research Center, pedometer geek, Uncategorized, Water Walkers | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Writing a wrong

It is not unusual for writers’ groups to take a day or two for a writer’s retreat, and our local writers’ group is no exception. One of our members is put in charge; usually it is my husband, and he is tasked with coming up with a program.

Today was our retreat and Rob’s idea was to the introduce the subject of showing, not telling as discussed in chapter one of Renni Browne’s and Dave King’s Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to edit yourself into print.

The authors use the example of The Great Gatsby to show the difference showing and telling, between narrative summary and scenes. At the end of the chapter, there are a few exercises, one of which we all completed in our unique way.

Here is the exercise: Take the following bit of narrative summary and convert it into a scene. Hint: feel free to create any characters or elaborate on the settings.

Once you got off Route 9W, though, you were in another world, a world where two streets never met at a right angle, where streets, in fact, didn’t exist. Instead you had courts, terraces, ways, and a landing or two. And lining these street-like things were row on row of little houses that could be distinguished, it seemed, only by the lawn ornaments. Travelers who disappeared into the developments had been known to call taxis just to lead them out again.

Here’s mine:

Penelope was heading to her friend’s home in Belgravia. She and Astrid were going shopping.

“Where does Google map say to turn again?” she asked herself. She pulled over on the shoulder of Route 9W to read the printout. “Damn, I missed that turn back there.”

Looking around for any cops, Penny pulled a U-turn and headed back down the road, turning left onto Lois Lane. “What were they thinking when they named this subdivision?” she wondered aloud.

Lois Lane suddenly curved to the right and then to the left as Penelope tried to follow the directions. “Tony the Tiger Terrace? Bluto’s Landing? Yosemite Sam’s Trail? Aren’t any of these roads straight?”

Between the lawn ornaments that matched the various road names she’d traversed and pure luck, she finally arrived at Astrid’s home, the one with the pink flamingo in the front. Penny didn’t know how she had twisted and turned her way there, but suddenly she wished she had left a trail of bread crumbs to find her way out. Exhausted, she knocked on Astrid’s door.

Astrid opened the door, invited Penelope in, and gave her friend a big hug. “Are you ready to hit the stores, Penny?”

“Only if we can there from here.”

Astrid laughed. “That’s what everyone says. It is so easy once you know the secret.”

“The secret?”

“Yeah, the street signs are holograms, and the names change weekly. I think this week’s theme is Sixties pop culture. We joke that we don’t want people discovering our little corner of Belgravia. Fortunately, local cabbies know the way in and out.

“Now, let’s go shopping; I’ll drive.”

~Nancy Brady, 2019

For those who are new to writing full-length novels, this book is a great addition to any library.



Posted in #pedometergeek, humor, pedometer geek, short story, Uncategorized, Writing, writing prompt | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

BP: Stardust Haiku, Issue #33

I have a haiku on this month’s Stardust Haiku Journal. It is as follows:


of her shattered life


~Nancy Brady, 2019

Check out all of the haiku at http://www.stardusthaiku.blogspot.com. Valentina Ranaldi-Adams puts out a wonderful collection of haiku every month. Submissions are from the first of the month to the fourteenth with publication around ten days later.

Posted in BP, haiku, pedometer geek, poem, Stardust Haiku, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Journey of a Thousand Miles…

…begins with a single step. This pedometer geek hasn’t been too vigilant this year about reporting either the miles or the steps made throughout the months. Nor has there been any blogging about the books read and challenges attempted and/or met, but I digress.

Having said that, this pedometer geek decided to continue the challenge of walking 1000 miles as her Bookcrossing.com friend in Great Britain has been doing. Actually, based on the total mileage from last year, this pedometer geek upped the year’s goal to 1500 miles.

As of yesterday, August 27, the goal of 1000 miles was met. Breaking it down by months, the miles and steps were as follows:

January: 108 miles     256,113 steps/46,582 aerobic steps

February: 109 miles   258,063 steps/52,936 aerobic steps

March: 135 miles       318,824 steps/79,457 aerobic steps

April: 143 miles         322,601 steps/36,275 aerobic steps

May: 123 miles          291,422 steps/24,342 aerobic steps

June: 131 miles          312,328 steps/34,789 aerobic steps

July: 139 miles          327,606 steps/21,585 aerobic steps

August: 112 miles (so far)

During the first seven months, there were 129 days in which the goal of 10,000 steps was met. Four of the seven months, the overall goal was met and a few of Healthcode.org’s Million Mile Month challenges were also met.

Now, the pedometer geek has to complete the other 500 miles before the end of the year.



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Geology 101: 99-word Flash

Usually this pedometer geek writes one response to the Carrot Ranch prompt, but this is the second 99 word (no more, no less) piece written using the rock star prompt.

Geology 101

Dr. Wright taught geology. It was his passion; it was his life. He loved his subject, teaching college students the rudimentary elements of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks. He taught them how mountains formed, about the shifting of fault lines, and about volcanic lava forming scoria and obsidian as it spewed forth from inside the earth.

At the end of the quarter, he took his students on a field trip to one of the local quarries. He handed them all tiny bottles of hydrochloric acid which reacted with the sedimentary rock, limestone.

This geologist truly was a rock star.

Nancy Brady, 2019

Check out all of the flash fiction at http://www.carrotranch.com.

Dr. Wright was a cool professor. He suggested that the best way to study for his exams was to explain the material to someone who had not heard his lectures. If that person understood what you were telling them about the subject, then you probably would do well on the exam.

For the first exam, I couldn’t feel comfortable speaking about the subject so studied the old-fashioned way, reading my notes and textbook; it was just too embarrassing (and my grade reflected it).

On the second exam, I talked to my boss about what we had covered, about the different kinds of rocks (igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic). Not only did this study method help with my performance on the essay exam, but my boss seemed to enjoy the subject.

It was probably a good thing that I had practiced with her because on the third and final exam, Dr, Wright decided instead of grading an essay exam that it was to be an oral exam.  To my recollection, that was the first (and only) oral exam I ever took, but it was an eye-opening experience.

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Rock Star Famous: a 99-Word Flash

This week’s prompt at Carrot Ranch (www.carrotranch.com) was to write a story about a rock star in ninety-nine words (no more, and no less). Here is my story:

Rock Star Famous

My son Mark and his friends formed a band called Spike Strip. They rehearsed daily after school their two songs in the run up to the concert planned for Halloween.

During trick-or-treat, they sang and played those songs over and over again as kids came to the door for candy.

The concert was over before I returned from work, but that night Mark and his buddies were rock stars.

So much so that when there wasn’t a concert the following year, many kids asked where the band was, disappointed that they weren’t playing. Apparently, it was a memorable event.

Nancy Brady, 2019

It is funny that today when children are asked what they want to be when they grow up, many of them say that they want to be famous. They don’t name a profession like doctor, teacher, or nurse, but just to be famous.

What that says about our culture, I can’t say for sure, but it is a bit sad that being famous outranks being a productive human being. Alas…

Read all the other 99-word flash fictions at http://www.carrotranch.com, or better yet, write your own.



Posted in #pedometergeek, 99-word flash fiction, Carrot Ranch, flash fiction, music, pedometer geek, rock star, short story, Spike Strip, Uncategorized, Writing, writing prompt | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments